Muddled approach to litter prevention?

LoveWhereYou LiveYork – Litter Awareness Day

Just a couple fo months after removing over 33% of York’s litter bins the Council have issued this media release:

“On Wednesday 12 September, City of York Council will be asking residents and tourists alike to think about how they dispose of litter and be part of the Love Where You Live York campaign and Smarter York through its annual litter awareness day.

During the day, the council will operate an amnesty on Fixed Penalty Notices for littering to highlight the matter, while members of the council’s Street Environment Team will be in Parliament Street, spreading the message that dropping litter can seriously damage your wealth – with a £75 fine – as well as spoiling the environment in which we live.

Together with some 16-18 year old volunteers, the team will be giving out information about the problems and consequences of littering and will also be handing out personal cigarette and chewing gum disposal pouches. Smokers can use these mini bins to safely store butts – even smouldering ones – until they find a bin or get home. At last year’s event, around 1,500 of these portable ashtrays were handed out to passers by and local businesses with staff who smoke. In 2012 the team hopes to reach even more people.

Picking up cigarette butts still present a huge challenge to the council time; these fiddly items do not biodegrade and are time consuming to pick up as proved by an 8-hour litter pick which revealed 30,000 butts in them. Chewing gum too is unsightly, doesn’t biodegrade and requires special chemicals, freeze treatment or high-pressure washing to remove.

The awareness day forms part of a wider public engagement process to improve the public realm, frontline and environmental services under the Smarter York banner and in the context of current financial challenges. It complements Keep Britain Tidy’s national campaign called Love Where Your Live which the council supports and which has inspired communities in York such as the friends of Bachelor Hill to carry out monthly litter picks at this Site of Natural Conservation”.

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